Marlinton Mayor’s Corner

Part of the Mayor’s Report at Monday night’s council meeting included:

Commending citizen John Neely for requesting that council add the Pledge of Allegiance to the agenda.

The town has received more complaints about dogs. Some owners have been notified by letter. Other complaints will be investigated. The county commission is scheduled to have the third and final reading of its dog ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.

The town is responding to complaints about drainage and other issues at Mountain View Cemetery.

Regular Conference calls are taking place between the town, Region 4 and the WVDO.

The Gravely Memorial at Mountain View Cemetery is being handled by committee.

The Opera House lot committee met and reported that project/grant application had been the holdup. During that meeting, it was determined more regular meetings would take place, in the future. At writing of this report, I am waiting on an update grant status from Mr. Mosby who will determine if those applications are still active or if the committee needs to reapply. The committee believes no further BFE markers are necessary, as several elevation markers are already in close proximity.

Monday’s conference call with Region 4 and WVDO revealed we will have to cross every T, in order to secure a final portion of required funding for the water improvement project.

The GBV Soil Conservation 2017 inspection of Marlin Run was completed May 9.

I attended the GVEDC meeting to tweak the tri-county area economic plan.

In other business: Land banks are one of the tools that municipalities and counties use to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned, dilapidated and/or tax-delinquent properties to productive use. These type properties impose significant costs to municipalities and counties by lowering property values, increasing fire and police protection costs, increasing labor costs for removal of overgrown weeds and brush, and imposing costs for demolition of unsafe, dilapidated structures, while, at the same time, decreasing tax revenues and undermining community cohesion. Existing WV Code provides no express authority for municipalities and counties to work together to solve these problems by identifying properties that would be suitable for a land bank prior to public tax sales/auctions; instead, municipalities have to bid against private investors which can often result in increased or prohibitive public costs due to a higher purchase price.
The current process also precludes planning and cooperation between municipalities and counties for the purpose of operating an effective land bank. Instead, it essentially prohibits effective municipal or county enforcement for violations on the property during the 18-month redemption waiting period.

Land Banking-C.S. HB 2109 – passed by the legislature addresses this issue. The West Virginia Municipal League proposed amendments to existing law authorizing municipal land banks and counties to work together to identify delinquent properties and offer right of first refusal on delinquent tax sale process to permit land banking and property rehabilitation to work effectively. The bill was amended to provide a three-year sunset and reporting requirements on the municipal land bank progress.

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